Frequently Asked Questions

For a complete tour of your free Music Reports web account, click below to check out our Music Biz webinar "How Music Reports Works With Publishers"

Watch video
You can jump to the following topics by clicking on each


MUSIC REPORTS & ITS CLIENTS

What is Music Reports?

Founded in 1995, Music Reports is the world’s leading rights administration platform, providing strategic consulting, copyright research, licensing, and royalty reporting services to digital music services, record labels, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters, wireless carriers and consumer products companies, among others. For more information, check out the About Us section of our website.

How are you different from a Performing Rights Organization or other licensing or accounting platforms?

Music Reports is not a society or an aggregator of rights. We do not require rights owners to affiliate with us, become members, or pay any fees to receive the reports or payments we provide on behalf of our clients. We do not set royalty rates and we do not commission royalties. When we pay, we pay 100% of royalties due from the first use of each sound recording embodying your composition(s), with no deductions other than required tax withholdings (if applicable).

Where can I learn more about your clients?

THE NOTICE OF INTENTION ("NOI") - LICENSING, REPORTING & PAYMENT

You sent me a "Notice of Intention To Obtain A Compulsory License." What is this about?

Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 115) provides digital music services and other users of music with the ability to license the mechanical publishing rights in musical compositions (i.e. the ability to reproduce and distribute a copy of a song) by sending a Notice of Intention to Obtain a Compulsory License for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (or "NOI") to the copyright owner(s) of the musical compositions or their authorized agent(s). This license is known as the compulsory or statutory mechanical license.

Music Reports has been retained by a number of music services to manage the compulsory license for them by sending NOIs and accounting to music publishers for usage on those services. The NOI notifies you that the music service (designated as the "Licensee" on the NOI) has licensed your musical works and intends to use those works in its service.

What is the purpose of the section 115 statutory license?

The statutory license dates back to the U.S. Copyright Act of 1909 and authorizes certain types of mechanical reproduction and distribution rights for musical compositions to be licensed via a notice of intention, subject to certain reporting and payment obligations also set by law. It is the same law that permits a composition to be licensed for a cover recording, and it also applies to digital distribution of recorded music. As long as the digital music service gives proper notice and follows the reporting and payment guidelines under the law, the copyright owner may not deny permission for the use. In exchange, however, the law provides for a royalty rate set by negotiations every five years before the Copyright Royalty Board, as well as prompt reporting and payment pursuant to strictly audited royalty accounting rules.

Once I receive an NOI, what do I need to do?

You aren’t required to do anything. You do not need to acknowledge the NOI or send us anything for the statutory license to apply.

That said, in order to ensure that: a) your song information is properly reflected in our system; b) usage of your catalog is properly reported to you; and c) royalties are efficiently remitted to you, we recommend you do the following:

  • Check the NOI and its attached Schedule A for factual errors. If you would like to update any of your contact or song information, please submit your changes to songdex@musicreports.com, or write your changes directly on the NOI and fax them to 818-558-3474.
  • If you have not already done so, please send a W-9 tax form (if located within the United States) or a W-8BEN tax form (if located outside the United States) to royaltyservices@musicreports.com. If you have not provided us with a current W-9 or W-8BEN, as applicable, we may be required by the IRS to withhold payments otherwise due you. A single tax form submission will suffice for all NOIs that you receive from our office (you do not need to resend your tax form for each subsequent NOI you receive), and once submitted, you never need to resubmit your tax form unless the information previously supplied has changed.
  • If you have not already done so, register your entire song catalog with us and update us as you add or remove works from your catalog over time. The best way to update us is to send an Excel spreadsheet containing the following information to songdex@musicreports.com: Title, Composer(s), Publisher(s), % Share Controlled, Territory Controlled, Artist, Album and Label. For your convenience, you may use our catalog submission template to convey this information to us.
  • Finally, consider signing up to receive your royalty payments via ACH direct deposit. Payments via ACH are faster and more secure. If you have a US bank account and you are interested in receiving payments via direct deposit, please complete this ACH Authorization form and send it to royaltyservices@musicreports.com, or visit the ‘Account Details – ACH Authorization’ page of your web account.

How do I get electronic copies of NOIs?

In addition to being a more environmentally responsible option, electronic NOIs are easier to administer, as they are posted in a format you can print, copy, paste, sort, and file electronically. They also contain extensive information about the sound recordings in which your songs have been embodied, which you can download and add to your own song information database. You can opt to have future NOIs posted to your web account, in both a page view and a downloadable spreadsheet format, by logging into your account at musicreports.com and following the on-screen prompt. If you have not yet been issued a web account, you will receive login instructions by mail approximately 15 business days after the close of the month in which you receive your first paper NOI from us. When you log in, make sure to review the opt-in instructions and click the "Agree" button.

I have already licensed my music to your clients through my label/digital distributor. Why is it necessary for Music Reports to issue NOIs?

Our clients generally license two sets of rights to use music on their services: the right to use the master recordings, and the right to use the underlying musical compositions. Labels and digital distributors typically only license the right to use master recordings, and not the underlying compositions embodied within those recordings, which are usually controlled by a music publisher (or the songwriter(s) themselves, if self-published). The NOIs Music Reports sends on behalf of its clients serve to license mechanical publishing rights.

I own or control other songs not listed on this NOI. Why are these additional songs not listed?

You may receive subsequent NOIs for additional songs in the future. Please also refer to the How do I register and/or update my catalog information? section of this FAQ for instructions concerning catalog registration with Music Reports.

What are mechanical rights?

A mechanical right is the right to make and distribute a copy of a work that can be played back by a machine (as opposed to a print copy, for instance), e.g. to enable limited downloads to support offline listening.

How are your clients licensing public performance rights?

Where applicable, our clients are typically licensing performance rights through the applicable US performing rights organizations.

How do your clients license sound recording rights?

Our clients have obtained licenses for the sound recordings used in their services directly from the copyright owners of those sound recordings, or from those owners’ designees. If you are the owner of the sound recordings, our clients may have licensed them through your third-party digital distributor (CD Baby, TuneCore, etc.).

What is the royalty rate under the section 115 statutory license?

The royalty rates for the services using the statutory mechanical license depend on the configuration or use type involved, and are determined through industry-wide negotiation subject to the authority of the Copyright Royalty Board. Negotiated by the National Music Publishers Association, the RIAA, the Songwriters Guild of America, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, and others, streaming music royalties are often based on complex formulas which essentially boil down to a pro rata share of a pool of money defined by the Licensee's revenue, payments to master recording owners, and subscriber numbers (if applicable), less performance royalties. These numbers may vary each month, unlike the flat statutory rate for physical or download purchases, which is 9.1¢ for each song under 5 minutes in length.


How will you report to me, and how am I going to be paid?

Royalty statements will be made available to you through our website on a monthly and annual basis, and each will include a complete accounting of the applicable royalty calculation. You can access your web account on our site with the username and password you will receive (or may already have received) by physical mail. You will receive royalties on a quarterly basis, within 45 days after the close of the applicable quarter, for any quarterly accounting period in which the aggregate amount then owed to you by a given Licensee is at least $50.00.


The schedule for royalty payments is:

  • On or about February 15: payments for Q4 of previous year
  • On or about May 15: payments for Q1 of current year
  • On or about August 15: payments for Q2 of current year
  • On or about November 15: payments for Q3 of current year

Electronic ACH payment is available to payees located in the United States. Please complete this ACH Authorization form and email it to Royalty Services (royaltyservices@musicreports.com) or visit the 'Account Details - ACH Authorization' page of your web account to sign up

I lost the check you sent me. Can you reissue the payment?

Please contact Royalty Services (royaltyservices@musicreports.com) to request payment reissuance. All reissued paper checks or electronic payments will incur an administrative fee of $30 per payment. The fee will be deducted from the amount of the reissued payment.

We highly recommend that you sign up to receive future payments via ACH direct deposit. Payments via ACH are faster, more secure and will reduce the likelihood that you will lose checks and incur reissuance fees. If you have a US bank account and you are interested in receiving payments via direct deposit, please complete this ACH Authorization form and send it to royaltyservices@musicreports.com, and we will update your account.

Why haven't I received any royalties?

If you've received no payment from our office, at least one of the following is likely the reason:

  • The music service (Licensee) named on the NOI you received has not yet had any usage of your songs by its customers.
  • You have not yet earned at least $50.00 on the music service in question. If you would like to adjust your accounting threshold to something lower than $50, please contact us at royaltyservices@musicreports.com.
  • You have not supplied us with a valid W-9 or W-8BEN tax form, as applicable. Please see the What do I need to do? section for more information.
  • You have not identified the musical works you control. Please see the How do I register and/or update my catalog information? section for more information.
  • You have not supplied us with valid address and/or banking details. Please see the What do I need to do? section for more information.
  • The Licensee in question is Apple iTunes. Please note that the preview clip streams iTunes is making available in connection with the promotion and sale of permanent DPDs subject to the NOIs we have sent on their behalf do not themselves generate any revenue. iTunes does not pay sound recording owners for this use, and the use does not generate any advertising, sponsorship, or subscription revenue. As such, there will be no mechanical publishing royalties payable for these promotional preview uses, and no usage reports will be generated for them.

Why did you send me a check for a small amount of money? I thought that I wouldn’t receive payment until the amount owed to me by one of your clients had reached my designated threshold.

From time to time, certain of our clients may instruct us to liquidate all publisher earnings on account, irrespective of the amount due. This kind of liquidation event is typically triggered by the closure of a client’s service or upon the rendering of the final reporting for a client’s fiscal year. We appreciate your understanding when this occurs, and assure you that your receipt of such a payment does not mean your standard accounting threshold has been modified.

DIRECT LICENSE AGREEMENTS & REPORTING / PAYMENT

You sent me an email about a direct license offer. What is this about?

From time to time, certain of our clients may approach you with a direct license opportunity, made available for your review, download and acceptance (if you so choose) on the "License Offers" tab of your Music Reports web account. If you wish to partake in a given license opportunity, you'll be able to opt-in by clicking the "Agree" button on that particular license page.

I have questions about a particular direct license offer - who can I talk to?

You may send your question to licenseoffers@musicreports.com.

If I opt-in to a direct license offer, how will you will report to and pay me?

Specific royalty accounting details are provided in each license. Generally, royalty statements will be made available to you through our website on a quarterly basis, and each will include a complete accounting of the applicable royalty calculation. You can access your web account on our site with the username and password you will receive (or may already have received) by physical mail. You will typically receive royalties on a quarterly basis, within 45 days after the close of the applicable quarter, for any quarterly accounting period in which the aggregate amount then owed to you by a given Licensee is at least $50.00.


Electronic ACH payment is available to payees located in the United States. Please complete this ACH Authorization form and email it to Royalty Services (royaltyservices@musicreports.com) or visit the 'Account Details - ACH Authorization' page of your web account to sign up.

What if I don't opt-in to the direct license offer I receive?

If applicable, our client may elect to license your works pursuant to statutory license notices (NOIs). If the service is not eligible for a statutory mechanical license, then your works will simply not be licensed for use on the applicable service, and you may miss out on a revenue opportunity.

I lost the check you sent me. Can you reissue the payment?

Please contact Royalty Services (royaltyservices@musicreports.com) to request payment reissuance. All reissued paper checks or electronic payments will incur an administrative fee of $30 per payment. The fee will be deducted from the amount of the reissued payment.


We highly recommend that you sign up to receive future payments via ACH direct deposit. Payments via ACH are faster, more secure and will reduce the likelihood that you will lose checks and incur reissuance fees. If you have a US bank account and you are interested in receiving payments via direct deposit, please complete this ACH Authorization form and send it to royaltyservices@musicreports.com, and we will update your account.

MY MUSIC REPORTS ACCOUNT & REGISTERED CATALOG

How do I log into my account?

If you haven't yet been issued a web account, you will receive log in instructions by mail approximately 15 business days after the close of the month in which you receive your first NOI from us. If you have received your log in instructions, and you need us to resend your login information, for your protection, we require that you send us a written request for a password signed by an authorized signatory of the payee. You can use the following language for the request:

"Please send the Username and Password for [PAYEE] to [EMAIL ADDRESS]. I represent and warrant that I am authorized to make this request on behalf of [PAYEE].

Thank you,
[PRINTED NAME AND SIGNATURE OF PERSON REQUESTING PASSWORD]

[DATE]"

This request must be on the payee's letterhead and include full contact information for the party making the request (i.e., name, address, telephone number, and email address) and can come in the form of a letter, a fax to 818-558-3474, or via email through a scanned PDF to songdex@musicreports.com. Upon receipt, we will send the username to the email address specified in the letter.

How do I register and/or update my catalog information?

You can register your entire song catalog with us and update us as you add or remove works from your catalog over time. The best way to send catalog information to us is to send an Excel spreadsheet to songdex@musicreports.com that contains the following information for each song: Title, Composer(s), Publisher(s), % Share Controlled, Territory Controlled, Artist, Album, and Label. For your convenience, you may use our catalog submission template to convey this information to us.


Once you supply your catalog information to us, our team will review it and, if it presents no conflicts with third party share information, will work to ingest it quickly. Commonly (and consistent with general industry practice), catalog updates will take effect - and begin to show up on NOIs and/or reporting from our office - the quarter following the quarter in which you send us the information.


Additionally, through your Music Reports web account, you may access the Songdex® Claiming System, which contains a searchable database of sound recordings for which owner(s) of the underlying songs have not yet been identified. If any of these songs are yours, you can use our simple interface to submit your music publishing claim.